Sarah Vowell

Popspotting #85: Sarah Vowell (July 6, 2011)


Sarah VowellIt’s back to the bookshelves for Wildcard Wednesday, as Jen gives a whirlwind tour through the bibliography of Sarah Vowell, whom most know as a contributor to “This American Life” on National Public Radio (and a few know as the voice of young Violet in Pixar’s “The Incredibles”). Jen has read every single one of her books, and loves how she mixes solid history, personal anecdotes, wit, and snark.

From “The Godfather” to John Wilkes Booth to Carlsbad Caverns, Vowell’s interests, travels, and writing style fly all over the place.

Vowell’s most recent book is “Unfamiliar Fishes,” in which she looks into the history of Hawaii, and the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy.


Popspotting #80: Favorite Hawaii Foods (June 29, 2011)


SushiWe hope you’re not hungry when you listen to today’s show… and we’re not even sure if our topic will make your stomach growl, or turn! Jen, born and raised in a small Florida town, shares the five foods she discovered in Hawaii that she says changed her life. The menu includes Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and of course, Hawaiian.

This episode is dedicated in part to “The Sporkful,” a great food podcast by Dan Pashman and Mark Garrison. Dan is the composer behind the Popspotting theme song, a creation that played a pivotal role in pushing us to get our show off the ground.

What counts as exotic food where you live? Any dishes or cuisines you think we’re missing out on? If you think food makes for a good “Wildcard Wednesday” theme (or if you don’t), please let us know!


Popspotting #75: California Songs (June 22, 2011)


LunaWith less than a month to go until Comic-Con in San Diego, Jen is in a California state of mind. So going back to our “Pith of Pop” roots (the segment she used to do on HawaiiUP more than five years ago), we explore a musical Top Five for today’s “Wildcard Wednesday.”

Today she shares her top five songs about the Golden State. Her picks include Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and The Runaways. She’s even got a couple of runner ups!

Wikipedia lists hundreds of songs about California, so we know we’ve missed a few great ones in our list. Have you got your own favorites? And have you got a suggestion for our next top five theme?


Popspotting #70: Photo Apps (June 15, 2011)


InstagramAnd now for something completely different. Finally pushing the envelope for our “Wildcard Wednesday” show, we go geeky with a look at our favorite smartphone photography apps. As iPhone users, these picks are iPhone centric, but several of them are also available on Android.

Jen is an iPhone camera app junkie, and has tried over a hundred of them. (Of course, there are thousands out there.) Among the apps making the cut are HipstamaticInstagram, PicPlz, Burstn, and Camera+,

Do you use any of these photo apps? Are there any you’d recommend? And if we do another app show, what sorts of apps would you suggest we check out?

And if apps are not your thing, nor music nor books… what else should we do for our Wednesday shows? Anything goes!

Catching Fire

Popspotting #65: Catching Fire & Extremely Loud (June 8, 2011)


Catching FireBook talk returns for “Wildcard Wednesday”! As promised, Jen returns with her report on “Catching Fire,” the second book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy. She also shares her thoughts on “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a post-9/11 novel by Jonathan Safran Foer.

It’s hopefully not much of a spoiler to say that Katniss Everdeen makes it out of the first “Hunger Games” book alive, and the second novel explores what her successful survival means to her and her people. While she remains front and center, other characters are given a chance to shine. And while this young-adult novel heads where you might expect early on, there are still surprises.

As for “Extremely Loud,” a story told from the point of view of a 9-year-old can be a bit over precious, but the novel nonetheless strikes a chord and is the first to really make Jen cry in some time.

There’s more book talk to come, but for next Wednesday, Jen’s thinking of mixing it up by sharing some of her favorite iPhone apps. Got your own suggestions? Let us know!

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Popspotting #60: Foo Fighters & Lady Gaga (June 1, 2011)


Foo Fighters - Wasting LightFor our first music show (apparently confirming Wednesday as being our wildcard slot), we get Jen’s take on two big recent releases: “Wasting Light,” the seventh studio album from the Foo Fighters, and “Born This Way,” the omnipresent second album from Lady Gaga. Though new, both conjure up a healthy serving of nostalgia, the Foo Fighters for their rough-and-tumble early years, and Lady Gaga for the ’80s (and for Madonna).

Jen also shares two singles that have been getting heavy play on her iPod, both tied to the similarly omnipresent phenomenon known as “Glee.”

Next week brings back the book talk, which generated an impressive proportion of the feedback we’ve received here on Popspotting. But if you’d like to hear us talk about something you like hearing, please make your music recommendations today!

Chelsea Handler

Popspotting #55: “Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me” (May 25, 2011)


Chelsea HandlerJen has a husband, but she also has a boyfriend: her Amazon Kindle. She’s a voracious reader, and finally gets to share her love of the written word with the world. But her first pick isn’t exactly high-brow literature. It’s “Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me.”

Jen has read all of her books, and liked this one just as much as the rest, even though it’s told from the perspective of Handler’s friends (and other victims).

We also talk about “Catching Fire,” the second book in the “Hunger Games” trilogy, which Jen is still working on but which will soon be a major motion picture. Is Jennifer Lawrence, previously of “Winter’s Bone,” the right star to play Katniss Everdeen?

Are you a bookworm too? What are you reading? Jen is always looking for recommendations on what to read next!

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